The Wiggle South Downs Epic stands out as one of our best mountain bike events in the calendar. At 40 miles, the Epic route of this ride is the longest, and its 3,218ft of elevation gain also makes for the most amount of climbing – with Standard and Short courses also ranking as relatively tough.
Don’t let this dissuade you though as the climbs give irresistible dropping descents in return, and the incredible views and scenic Sussex sights across the South Downs National Park are tricky to top.
Starting out from Fontwell Racecourse, this mid-season test should be the ultimate poser for any riders wishing to assess their skills and fitness on two wheels up against nature in this great adventure. You’ll head out past Slindon at the start of the day, on a gradient that is always rising for the first few miles, as the route takes in little-explored trails and woodland sections.
After Cocking, your persistence is rewarded as the terrain turns and points mostly downhill for the a considerable chunk of the ensuing anti-clockwise off-road loop around the Chichester district – one highlight being the fast drop just after Lambdown Hill.
A handful of other technical downhill sections will present themselves from there on towards the finish line, albeit matched by some leg pumping climbs as well.
You’ll enjoy stunning views over the south coast from the top of Kingley Vale and St Roches Hill while out on the course – and the rolling finish on the last few miles of bridleways and paths along the South Downs Way make this a must for any keen off-road rider.